Public Perception Masks Stark Health Care Realities
Americans are confused about how our health care system compares with those of other wealthy democracies. A great many Americans seem to think we have a top-notch system and that poor sods in other places like
A survey done by the
But the accolades are undeserved. Our system is seriously messed up, at least compared to other industrialized nations. The statistics show that we spend gobs more money for higher mortality, meaning we die sooner with emptier pockets.
Of course, you can't blame people for this confusion. Republican politicians tout America's health care system as the greatest on earth -- as if it were some Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey medical show.
It's part of the script designed to undermine America's foray into universal health care.
Now let's talk facts.
America was once fifth in the world among leading industrialized nations for female life expectancy. That was in 1950. Now we rank 46th. And if you add men into the mix, the U.S. ranks 49th for life expectancy in the world. That's true despite our per capita health spending increasing at a rate nearly twice that of other industrialized nations.
Relative to the rest of the developed world, Americans pay a huge price for abysmal health outcomes. Our median expenditures on health care are more than double that of other wealthy nations, yet we live shorter, less healthy lives.
The reason, according to
Muennig and Glied compared U.S. health data from 1975 to 2005 with that of 12 other industrialized nations, including
This study found that while all of these countries' 15-year survival rates increased, that of the U.S. increased less than almost all of them, even as it hugely overspent. This even held true when the researchers controlled for race. Between 1995 and 2005, the survival rate increases for American non-Hispanic whites -- men and women, both age groups -- were lower than those in every other comparable nation.
And don't blame national differentials in smoking, obesity or homicide rates. This research details how none of these factors explain why Americans enjoy less good health, die earlier and pay more. For instance, the smoking rate in the U.S. is generally lower than in the other comparable countries.
The inescapable conclusion is that our profit-driven, fee-for-service system of health care is literally killing us. And despite the incessant "We Are Number One" boasts by politicians opposed to health care reform, we could learn a lot from everyone else.
Available at Amazon.com:
Read the latest political news.
- America's Hidden Hunger and What We Can Do About It
- Belt-Tightening for United States Foreign Policy
- Public Perception Masks Stark Health Care Realities
- Global Warming Conference Faces Meltdown
- America's Credibility Deficit
- WikiLeaks Disclosures Not Earth Shattering
- A WikiLeaks Wake-up Call
- WikiLeaks May End Up Helping America
- WikiLeaks and The Invisible Government
- Wikileaks: More Than Just an Embarrassment
- Wikileaks: Undiplomatic Diplomacy
- Will WikiLeaks Hobble U.S. Diplomacy?
- How WikiLeaks Can Make Us Less Free
- Wikileaks: Small Revelations That May Cause a Big Idea to Take Hold
- Hunting Down Anwar al-Awlaki, Public Enemy No. 1
- FDA Cracks Down on Caffeine-Charged Alcoholic Drinks
- The American Dream: Pro and Con
- Four Loko: Boozy Up-and-Down Makes This Loko Loco
- Crossroads on the Path to a More Perfect Union
- The Right Way to Reform Healthcare
- The Future of American Power: Dominance and Decline in Perspective
- Everybody Discriminates in Some Way
- Banks Need to Pay for Foreclosure Shenanigans
- The Distinctly American Tradition of Charity
- Giving Away a Fortune to Keep the American Dream Alive
- Public Service Groups That Are Making a Difference
- Public Service: Citizenship Is More than Paying Taxes and Voting
- Public Service Is the Antidote For Voter Anger
- Raising People's Quality of Life Drives Public Service
- Public Service: Ordinary Americans Changing Communities for the Better
- How to Make a Career in Public Service
- How to Choose the Best Volunteering Option
- Recession Driving Changes in Corporate Philanthropy
- How to Avoid Charity Scams
- The Pros and Cons of Military Service
- Compulsory National Service Would Strengthen American Citizenship
- Compulsory National Service Would Undermine the American Character
- Why China Has a Point About Quantitative Easing
- Out of Play
- Eliminating Poverty: Lesson From Childhood
- Wall Street Had a Meltdown, and All We Got (Besides the Bill) Was an Interminable Argument
- Changing Our Tune to Natural Gas
- Supreme Court's Citizens United Decision Will Warp Policymaking
- Citizens United Decision: Money at Issue Funds Speech Not Candidates
- Education and Wealth: Strongest Predictors of a Long Life
- 'Citizen Journalism' Fad is Not Journalism
- Life's Little Lows Big Part of Going to High School
- Happiness is a Matter of Perspective
- Binge Drinking Numbers Rising
- The Republicans' Bizarre Attacks on Elites
- Joe Klein and Diane Sawyer Tour the Real Reality
- Troubled Times: When Mark Zuckerberg's Generosity Is Not Good Enough
- Why on Earth Does America Want a Stronger Chinese Currency?
- A Nation of Peasants?
- Public Sector Workers Are the New Privileged Elite Class
- Raising Retirement Age Will Help Save Social Security
- Cutting Benefits Isn't the Way to Save Social Security
- How the New Consumer Bureau Will Help You
- Setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- The Truth Behind UFO Sightings and the U.S. Air Force
- American Dream of Home Ownership Has Become a Nightmare
- 5 Traits of the New American Consumer
- Stoned on Righteousness
Public Perception Masks Stark Health Care Realities
(c) 2010 Robyn Blumner